Iran nuclear chief to meet ElBaradei on Friday
VIENNA, June 20 (AFP) Jun 20, 2007
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani is set to meet UN atomic agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Friday, a day before renewed talks with the European Union about Tehran's nuclear programme.
"The meeting will take place in Vienna on Friday afternoon," Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told AFP in the Austrian capital.
"Of course it will be about the nuclear issues we have vis-a-vis the IAEA."
But he added: "It will not be about the UN (Security Council) resolutions. We always said that the UN resolutions are without legal basis."
However, the ambassador said Iran was "cooperating with the IAEA" and would continue to do so.
An IAEA spokesman confirmed the meeting but said it would be on Friday morning. The spokesman refused further comment.
ElBaradei has called on Iran to declare a moratorium on expanding uranium enrichment operations in order to defuse the crisis over Western fears that Tehran seeks to develop atomic weapons.
The IAEA chief has also angered the United States by saying the West must be realistic about the progress Iran has made in enrichment, a process that makes nuclear power reactor fuel but also atom bomb material, and not expect Tehran to give up all enrichment work, even if a full suspension is needed to re-start formal talks.
Iran's supreme national security council has also announced that Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will meet in Lisbon on Saturday, in their latest attempt to break the deadlock on the Iranian nuclear programme.
The two men last met on May 31 in Madrid, but no breakthrough was reported.
Iran has so far been slapped with two sets of UN Security Council sanctions and faces a third for its refusal to suspend sensitive enrichment work.
The oil-rich country insists it only wants to make nuclear fuel to meet its growing energy demands.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.